#BNHAF Knowledge Series l Masterclass Audrey L'Ebrellec l Part 2

Audrey L’Ebrellec is a French actress and voice artist. Following a career in TV and stage in France, Audrey decided to move to London in 2014, where she continues to work on exciting projects on both sides of the industry. She is best known for portraying Mary Queen of Scots in “Elizabeth I” opposite Lily Cole.

Good Newwz, not quite l Jug Jugg Jeeyo l Mini Review

By: Amit KumaR Agarwal

Jug Jugg Jeeyo had a well-received theatrical trailer, will it live up to the trailers hype, read on!
Jug Jugg Jeeyo is Raj Mehta's second directorial venture after the blockbuster Good Newwz; like his earlier film, the story is unconventional and unfolds through two couples - here father and son, both seeking divorce. 

Kukoo (Varun Dhawan) and Naina (Kiara Advani) move to Toronto, Canada after marriage. Five years having walked the altar, they want divorce. They decide to keep sham-happy marriage going till the wedding of Kukoo’s sister, Ginny (Prajakta Koli), in India. The couple arrives in India for the big-fat punjabi wedding - after which - they plan to break the plans of divorce to Kukoo's parents, Bheem (Anil Kapoor) and Geeta (Neetu Kapoor). Kukoo gets the shock of his life when Bheem tells him that he is planning to divorce Geeta. Meanwhile, Ginny is also not sure whether she wants to marry the guy she is getting married to, she still not quite over her (ex)-boyfriend.
In what could have been a very enjoyable film on 'todays' complex relationships, the film ends as a confused half-hearted take, majorly because of the confusion of the makers, whether they want to make a comedy or emotionally-charged drama.
Having said that writing is the main culprit - not as much the screenplay as much the motivations of primary characters. What is Anil Kapoor a villain or a neglected husband - while audience empathize with him, the minute he plays with his son in the pre-climax that he left Meera (Tisca Chopra) to be back with Geeta takes away the empathy. Also when Geeta says that all she wants is love from Bheem, which she never got - audiences wonder Bheem too has the same problem, he wants love from Geeta; 35-years of marriage is too long a time, to sort it out! There are several glitches like this. What exactly is the problem in Kukoo and Naina's marriage? The revelation in the end followed by a quick resolve doesn't really register with the audiences.
The comedy in the film works, but at two hours and forty minutes, the comic punches needed to be aplenty. While dialogues are good in light-hearted scenes, in the dramatic scenes, barring a few, they fail to evoke the right emotions.
The principal cast has done a great job, Anil Kapoor Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani all do great job, but it is Neetu Kapoor who steals the show as Geeta. In spite of an ill-etched character, she holds Geeta together. Manish Paul plays a loud punju effortlessly and flawlessly!
Raj Mehta was in a much better form in Good Newwz, here his direction seems confused about the resolution.
Jug Jugg Jeeyo is good on comedy, but emotional scenes could have been stronger. On the whole an average fare. At the box-office film the film will definitely be not quite Good Newwz, pun-intended! It will at best be an average to hit performer.

Brahmastra l The trailer raises curiosity

by: Amit KumaR Agarwal

The trailer of the much awaited Brahmastra was released on June 15, 2022. The big-ticket movie that is toplined by Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt also has Nagarjuna and Mouni Roy in, undoubtedly, her best role till date! 
Let's analyze the trailer.
If first reactions are any yardstick, Ayan Mukheri has a solid-film up his sleeve. The vfx-laden trailer opens with the famous Bachchan baritone that talks about the various astras (weapons) that have the elements like air, water, fire and then the supreme-most astra, Brahmastra.
To ensure that these astras are used with discretion and only for the well-being of humans, they have been guarded by the good souls, however these astras got lost during the destruction during antiquity.
In modern times, Shiva is a sought-after DJ. He is oblivious of the fact that he is 'agni-astra'. As he comes to know of his power. He is guarded by the 'good souls' from antiquity to save the Brahmastra.
The storyline takes heavily from the ancient Indian texts with Amitabh Bachchan playing God Brahma, Nagarjuna God Vishnu and Ranbir Kapoor God Shiva. From the looks of the trailer - the ancient India ethos and virtues are seamlessly blended into the narrative.
There have been users that are complaining that the VFX is nowhere near Marvel films, but in all probability after Sooryavanshi and The Kashmir Files, Hindi film industry will have it's third blockbuster movie on September 9, 2022.

Samrat Prithiviraj - is it a success or a failure

By: Amit KumaR Agarwal

Ever-since the trailer of Samrat Prithviraj released, cynics declared the film would flop. The tirade continued even a week after the film's release. So, is Samrat Prithviraj a success or a flop.
First of all, what are the media-outlets reporting that Samrat Prithviraj is a flop. Exactly the same media that said The Kashmir Files is a propaganda film. The success of the film is because of political patronage. If that is the case, why aren't they complaining about political patronage for Samrat Prithviraj. A reason could be because Samrat Prithviraj's business in nowhere near The Kashmir Files. 

Leading media are carrying news-articles about cancelled shows; but why single out Samrat Prithviraj, there are cancelled shows for the biggest of films. In fact, the new Hindi release that followed Samrat Prithviraj had two consecutive shows cancelled at a multiplex in Delhi-NCR. South films - Vikram and Major had cancelled shows! Is the reporting by the leading daily influenced? And this is the recent past, earlier shows of hit films like RRR and Gangubai Kathiawadi stood cancelled!
The fact is there are two sides to each story. Samrat Prithivraj did much better than what looked after the theatrical trailer, that the film will be a washout - it packed in an above-average weekend number of 40.5 crores, but the weekdays were below average, giving the first week, a below-average 57 crores with a worldwide total of 80 crores. The film will cross 100 crores in two weeks.
The flip-side is, a lot was expected from the film, as period dramas by S.S. Rajamauli and Sanjay Leela Bhansali have done 250crores plus business worldwide. Here, comes the reason for Samrat Prithviraj doing below average business, the direction of the film, that doesn't quite leave an impact.
Post-pandemic, it has already earned more money at the box-office than the life-time earnings of films starring other superstars. The trade-experts say that the film is a plus given the non-theatrical avenues unlike a majority of the films released post-pandemic, including YRF's own Bunty Aur Babi 2 and Jayeshbhai Jordaar.
In the end Samrat Prithivraj is a bitter-sweet below-average success story, better than what was projected after the first theatrical trailer, dull from what the expectations from the first-weekend gave. The silver-lining being, everyone earned, even the exhibitors that gave MG's with their MG's recovered.

#BNHAF Knowledge Series l Masterclass Audrey L'Ebrellec l Part 1

Audrey L’Ebrellec is a French actress and voice artist. Following a career in TV and stage in France, Audrey decided to move to London in 2014, where she continues to work on exciting projects on both sides of the industry. She is best known for portraying Mary Queen of Scots in “Elizabeth I” opposite Lily Cole.

Akshay Kumar shines as Samrat Prithviraj l Mini Review

by: Amit Kumar Agarwal

Many times a film excels a weak theatrical trailer, Samrat Prithviraj is a film in this category!
Prithivraj was the last king of Delhi, before the invaders took control of Delhi, paving way for islamic invasion of India; an invasion India very valiantly thwarted for more than five centuries. Western scholars often wondered what made the invaders struggle so long to get a foothold in India, for Persia and many illustrious kingdoms fell like nine-pins! Anyways, this entire story can make for another very interesting film. Here, the story is about Prithiviraj Chauhan.

Samrat Prithviraj is based on Chand Bardai's "Prithviraj Raso". The valor of Prithivraj, him pardoning Mohammad Ghori, his love-story with Sanyogita and avenging himself by killing Mohammad Ghori.
The story has all the meat to be a blockbuster; while screenplay here is just average, not great, direction is one aspect that could have been much more effective. The writer feels it because there are many sequences in the film that elicit claps and whistles, yet that extra stroke of brush of direction would've given the film an extra-edge and would've left the viewers with an indelible impression. For example, the scene where Sanyogita goes with Prithviraj is a high-point, a simple shot where ladies shower flowers on the couple would've added an extra-polish to the scene. Or the scenes of Prithviraj's duel with the lions, slo-mo shots of Prithviraj riding the lion would've given the scene a cinematic edge. These small details are exactly what S.S. Rajamouli and Sanjay Leela Bhnasali master.
The biggest flaw of the film is, it doesn't effectively show the deceit that Ghori resorted to catch  Prithviraj and his army off-guard during the battle.

Akshay Kumar lives the role of Samrat Prithviraj such that you can see no other actor in his place. He is simply too perfect! Sonu Sood excels as Chand Bardai. Sanjay Dutt is aptly cast as Kaka Kanha. Manushi Chillar makes a supremely confident debut as Sanyogita, her dialogue delivery and dance in the 'Yodha' song need special mention. Manav Vij gets limited scope as Mohammad Ghori, also writers have not really brought about his cruelty.

Samraj Prithiviraj doesn't have the opulence of Bajirao Mastani or Padmaavat, but if you liked these, you are sure to like Samrat Prithviraj as well.
Owing to the subject-matter, a section of audience will be cut-off from the film, with countries like Kuwait and Oman, already banning the film. Yet, as predicted earlier, the film will cross 100-crores and will be a win-win situation for everyone in the distribution-line involved including it's exhibitors. On Satellite and OTT's the film will be an all-time blockbuster. Theatrically the film had everything going for it, but for the direction; still a winner!

Media, films & film critics!

By: Amit KumaR Agarwal

It is no secret that media-outlets worldwide have advertorials and covert advertising. Same goes for film critics as well.
The case of Samrat Prithvitraj highlights it to the fore, there is a certain film critic that is promoting the south films releasing tomorrow (Major and Vikram) since the past three days. Implying, even before release that they are hits. No issues. The issue, as a neutral trade-pundit points is, he is simply not reporting on Prithviraj, even the big news that almost all film-critics reported that Prithviraj is now titled Samrat Prithviraj.
A film portal very correctly summed it up. The South films  due to release in Hindi circuits this week and compete with Samrat Prithviraj have been getting support from the media be it national or film industry media but this has all become a PAID PR exercise today and YRF the makers of Samrat Prithviraj do not indulge the media in this way.
YRF is known for not keeping even, press-screenings for the media! 

These film critics really harm the industry, reason being they hail few actors and few filmmakers such that the people at large take even their flop films to be hits, whereas the fact is otherwise. However, when the bubble bursts, it entail heavy losses to the industry.

Samrat Prithviraj is tax-free in Uttar Pradesh

By: Amit KumaR Agarwal

Samrat Prithviraj got the tax-free status in Uttar Pradesh ahead of it's release. Reportedly, the CM of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath was so impressed by the film that he decided that the film should be tax-free.
World View
Worldwide films' promoting a country's art and culture and of historical-significance are not only supported by various ministries, but also sweep the top awards. In India, however, there is no support per se, because the film-industry got the industry status only a decade back.
Though things are fast-changing now!
Coming to Samrat Prithviraj, the film has a runtime of 2hours and 13minutes and the media is already speculating strongly on the opening day collections.
Stay tuned for more updates from Bollywood.

Top Gun: Maverick fails to live up to the hype in India

By: Amit KumaR Agarwal

Top Gun: Maverick is a keenly awaited sequel in the US, because the first film in the franchise, Top Gun (1986) made a gifted actor, Tom Cruise, into a viable box-office superstar, Tom Cruise. While the trade is bullish that the film will be a blockbuster just like the original film, there are naysayers that question the very need of the film after 36 years!
Whatever the fate of the film is in the US, in India the film matched the fate of it's original, flop. Top Gun, after becoming the biggest blockbuster in the US in 1986, released in India in 1987 and was a flop. The entire business of Hollywood films has changed since then, with Avengers, Fast & Furious, Mission Impossible and the MCU franchise, particularly, doing blockbuster business; however, for many Hollywood hits the going is tough. Tom Cruise films haven't really worked at the Indian box-office other than Mission Impossible franchise.
Top Gun: Maverick had it coming, with reports of morning-shows cancelled at few properties because of no-audiences (just like the Hindi release, Anek) it will need a miracle for the film to emerge victorious at the Indian box-office.
From the looks of it, however, this is one battle that Top Gun: Maverick, won't top.